July 13, 2020

Empire State Building Observatory Recalls Employees For Training

The Iconic NYC Landmark Prepares to Reopen with New Protocols

New York, NY, July 13, 2020 – The Empire State Building (ESB) today announced the recall of its employees for training in the new protocols and processes required as the final step to prepare for its world-famous Observatory to reopen on July 20, 2020, under New York State’s Phase 4 guidelines. 

“We will reopen the universally-recognized symbol of New York City to the world, our brand new $165 million Observatory experience, and so state that New York is resilient and that our future holds promise,” said Anthony E. Malkin, Chairman, President, and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “Our decade’s long commitment to Indoor Environmental Quality is accompanied by new protocols and employee training which comply with government requirements.  Visits will initially be limited to below New York State’s Phase 4 capacity guidelines, and we will prevent crowds through a shift to timed, online reservations only. The reduced capacity and lack of tourists from out of town will create a unique ‘New York for New Yorkers’ experience.”

For the first few weeks, hours of operation will be reduced to 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Tickets for set times can be purchased at www.esbnyc.com.  Initial capacity will be reduced by more than 80% to only 500 guests in the Observatories’ 70,000 square foot space at a time, and well below the 25% capacity guideline set forth in Phase 4.  This policy will allow for the separation of groups by more than 18 feet.  The $165 million redevelopment of the Observatories that was concluded in December 2019 created a separate entrance dedicated to Observatory visitors.

Empire State Realty Trust’s (ESRT) portfolio-wide Indoor Environmental Quality standards were incorporated as part of the Observatories redevelopment.  Air quality related components at the Observatory include MERV 13 air filters, AtmosAir air purification, and constant ventilation through the introduction of fresh air to, and the exhaust interior air from, the Observatories.  These are the standards in all of ESRT’s new office installations.

Guest protocols will include a contactless temperature check (must have a temperature of less than 100.4 degrees) and the requirement to wear a facial covering throughout their visit.  Certain interactive exhibits will run on automatic and binocular viewers, which require close eye contact by visitors, will be closed.  At the time of reopening, all Hosts, Cleaning, and Security personnel will be trained in additional customer service, use of PPE, new cleaning procedures, tracing, and back-of-house protocols.

“Our work has been thorough with new training guidelines and customer service standards. We have taken measures with signage, distancing markers, hand sanitizers, and cleaning; beyond anything any retailer or public space we have surveyed,” stated Observatory President Jean-Yves Ghazi.  “As leaders, we have posted our complete reopening program on www.esbnyc.com for the public to view, both to give our guests confidence and to help guide other attractions in best practices.”

“With such a reduced capacity, everyone will have an unmatched opportunity to enjoy the Observatory Experience – truly New York for New Yorkers.  More than 100 employees, who bring life and authenticity to the Building, will return to work,” said Ernie Blundell, Observatory EVP.

No one building has connected more with the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Empire State Building cemented itself as a beacon of hope and inspiration through its ‘Pandemic Siren’ and ‘Heartbeat of New York’ lightings, the international #HeroesShineBright campaign honoring First Responders, and the music-to-light shows with Alicia Keys, The Beatles, and Billy Joel, which generated more than 33.2 billion media impressions in four major markets measured worldwide. The unprecedented July 4th Macy’s Fireworks finale at the Empire State Building was the prelude to its reopening and showcased the enduring Icon of New York City.

For more information on the guidelines, how to purchase tickets, and updated operating hours, please visit https://www.esbnyc.com.

About the Empire State Building 

Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan (from base to antenna top), the Empire State Building, owned by Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., is the “World’s Most Famous Building.” With new investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The Empire State Building was named the world’s most popular travel destination in a study conducted by Uber and was named America’s favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.esbnyc.com, www.facebook.com/empirestatebuilding, https://twitter.com/empirestatebldg, www.instagram.com/empirestatebldg/, https://weibo.com/empirestatebuilding, www.youtube.com/esbnyc, https://www.tiktok.com/@empirestatebldg or www.pinterest.com/empirestatebldg.

About Empire State Realty Trust  

Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT), a leading real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, manages, operates, acquires and repositions office and retail properties in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area, including the Empire State Building, the “World’s Most Famous Building.” Headquartered in New York, New York, the Company’s office and retail portfolio covers 10.1 million rentable square feet, as of  March 31, 2020 consisting of 9.4 million rentable square feet in 14 office properties, including nine in Manhattan, three in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and two in Westchester County, New York; and approximately 700,000 rentable square feet in the retail portfolio.  

Media Contacts: 

Alexandra Chernin 



Bianca Pappas